CCC: New Year, New White

Hello everyone, East2West here with the most tepid take ever. White isn't bad, R&D just doesn't know how to define the color anymore. This month, I'd like to ring in 2020 by going over the most overlooked and put down color in magic. We'll be looking at White's history in the game and what can be done to differentiate it from the other colors. So sleeve up those Plains and prepare yourself to cast 2/1's for one White mana, let's get into it!

First off, let's talk about Whites place in the history of the game so we have a historical starting point for our analysis. Ever since Alpha, White has been a jack of all trades to the color pie. While each other color has specific things that it does better than the others (Card draw, direct damage, removal, ramping, etc) the closest thing White ever had to that was damage prevention something that, unlike the others, has fallen out of favor. Other than that, White has sort of struggled to have an individual identity. It's able to do almost everything the other colors can, but it just doesn't do them as well. Historically we also see things that are traditionally White divvied up among the other colors. Examples of this include life gain, +1/+1 counters, and tokens being taken by green and flicker abilities being taken by blue.

So what does White have left that is unique? Really only one thing has stayed primarily and that would be exile effects that target permanents still on the battlefield. According to scryfall there are around 320 cards that refer to exiling cards from the battlefield (Not including flicker effects). Of that, around 140 of them are white, that's well over half. This shows that white is seen as the primary color for on board exile effects. For anyone interested in the exact breakdown by color, here it is. I counted multicolor cards for both colors

  • W - 137
  • U - 44
  • B - 78
  • R - 55
  • G - 22
  • C - 46
We see here that exiling from the battlefield is an overwhelmingly white ability, and something that we can all admit is really powerful! Exiling a problematic permanent not only gets rid of it in the moment, but makes it infinitely harder to get back for reanimator decks. So now that we've identified exile as an ability unique to White, where do we take that design space? To answer that question, let's look at what wizards has already done to help us out.

Warden of the Beyond is one of the most unique cards in Magic, as far as I could tell it's the only card in the game that has an effect like this. But what if that wasn't true? I propose that White could very easily pivot into being a color that makes use of the exile abilities like Black takes advantage of the graveyard. The flavor here is on point too, exile is used to represent prison or some sort of capture, therefore the color of law and order would be adept at using such things. Imagine cards that get powered up if a player has cards in exile. What if you could cast certain cards from exile for a bonus effect, or maybe even exile the card for a bonus effect. There are endless ways to go from here, and I hope to see what you all do with it!

So there you have it, let's make White something we can all be proud of. Let me know what you think of the color and what could be done with it in the comments below. You can find me on twitter @East2Westmtg or email me at [email protected] As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.

Jan 15, 2020 by East2West
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